Engaging with education agents in international student support.

Education agents are a significant group in delivering education and services to international students. They are contracted by providers with responsibilities under the ESOS Act to ensure information, advice and professional behaviour meet quality standards. Agents are frequently involved in liaising with parents and providers after a student has commenced study, and are therefore valuable stakeholders in the student support process. One of the Australian Government’s Study in Australia 2010 initiatives announced in March 2009 was to deliver sector support by strengthening engagement with education agents through a collaborative project between AEI and Professional International Education Resources (PIER). This involved workshops and focus groups involving around 1142 education agents across six countries between May-August 2009. The focus group sessions considered student experience in Australia including safety and security; accommodation and cost of living issues; working with Australian education providers and identifying areas for improvement; and developing methods to showcase excellence in Australian education both of individuals and providers. Other issues addressed in the paper relate to what the Australian media thinks of education agents, what the education industry thinks of education agents, and what education agents think of Australian education.

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